Crossover Leads Assault on Tesla’s Electric Luxury Dominance
Like Audi, BMW and Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz dropped out of next week’s Detroit auto show and chose instead to show off its new cars and latest whiz bang technology at the throng-filled 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Featured was the U.S. debut of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic all-electric crossover SUV. Mercedes says the electric SUV will have a 279-mile driving range. But that is based on the overly optimistic European NEDC standard.
The all-wheel drive EQC will face off against Tesla’s Model X and Jaguar’s I-Pace, as well as forthcoming electric crossovers from BMW and Audi. Porsche has an all-electric crossover car on the way, also.
Under the New Sheetmetal
Power for the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic comes from two asynchronous electric motors; one placed at each axle for dual-motor all-wheel drive with a combined output of 402 horsepower and an enormous 564 pounds-feet of torque. While each motor unit includes a fixed-ratio transmission and differential, the two are not identical. The front is tuned for maximum efficiency at low and medium speeds, while the rear kicks in for extra sporting performance. Mercedes says 0-60 mph arrives in 4.9 seconds, while the top speed is an electronically-limited 112 mph.
Drivers can select regenerative braking strength using two shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel. To optimize the trade-off between range and power, EQC drivers can select among five different drive modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport, and Individual.
Meanwhile, an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is housed in the floor. The EQC comes with a 7.4-kilowattt onboard charger, which allows it to plug in at a number of different charging sources. Mercedes doesn’t give estimates for charge time with 240-volt home chargers or a 110-volt outlet, but did say with the EQC’s standard DC fast-charging capability the battery can be charged from 10 percent up to 80 percent in around 40 minutes.
It Looks Like A Regular Mercedes-Benz Crossover SUV
In profile, the EQC doesn’t look too different from the mid-size GLC 300 crossover SUV. It sits on the same platform as the GLC 300, however it is about four inches longer at 187.4 inches. Unique front and rear ends help identify this as the battery-electric variant.
The EQC receives a chrome grill with daytime running lights that are accompanied with an LED Light Band, which in low-light conditions will look almost like an uninterrupted light strip across the front of the car. Visually lowered, thanks to the black lower bumper trim, side trim and rear bumper trim, the EQC makes the most of its stance with a low roof spoiler. High-gloss aluminum trim strips frame the side windows, and there are 19- to 21-inch light alloy wheels, fitted flush with the wheel arches for aerodynamic performance.
New Design for the EQC Interior
As you’d expect, there’s an abundance of leather, aluminum and natural grain wood, though the automaker says it’s been given a special EQ distinction—a textile-like structure in metallic silver grey with rose-gold highlights. The cabin has a more avant-garde look than the traditional Mercedes. The dashboard is cut back compared to normal, with the upper section reduced down and using an asymmetrical wing profile.
The shape is echoed elsewhere, while two 10.25-inch displays dominate the dashboard–one for the driver’s instrumentation, the other for the rest of the systems–controlled by a touchpad in the center console or by voice.
The EQC is packed to the sunroof with features. Notable is a dedicated electric-vehicle-specific navigation system. It takes factors like current range, energy consumption, route topography and traffic, as well as available charging stations, into account to chart the most efficient course to a destination.
Mercedes also uses the EQC to showcase its safety and assistance technology. There’s Active Brake Assist as standard, while the Driver Assistance Package adds evasive steering assist, Pre-Safe Plus for rear crashes, blind-spot assistance with warnings if you’re about to open the door into a car or cyclist, and more.
EQC production will start this year in Germany, then it will spread to China and potentially to the company’s US plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Pricing for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic will be announced closer to its arrival at U.S. dealers in early 2020.